Tag Archives: south central vermont

Things to do in the Mountains

I love Vermont!  Even when the slopes are bare there are many activities to attend, from sporting events to outdoor music concerts.   We are fortunate in this area that so many opportunities exist.  Every weekend you can choose from Stratton’s Saturday under the Stars Concert Series or Killington’s Its Cooler in the Mountains Concert Series or Okemos’ Friday Night Jackson Gore Concert Series.  Pull up a chair, bring a blanket and get your groove on at these free events.

Looking for other interesting events?  Stratton is hosting a Motorcycle Rally on August 20th that has a host of activities beyond two wheels – BBQ, Gondola Rides, Vendors and Live Music!  If you feel like travelling a bit further, check out the 16th Annual Vermont Garlic and Herb Festival in Bennington on September 3rd.  Taste everything from Garlic Ice Cream to Garlic Margaritas! 

Trying to stay in shape for the coming ski season?  The 100 on 100 Relay on August 13th might be for you.  Runners from across the country converge on the Green Mountain state each August for this long distance relay along scenic Route 100 ending at Okemo Mountain.  Running races in New England are increasing in popularity and Vermont races put on by Heart of Vermont Productions are looking to lead the way.

Or check out the Eastern States Cup DH Race at Mount Snow on August 20.  The final downhill mountain bike race of the season, registration includes lift service for practice on Saturday and race day on Sunday.  Beginners to pro races welcome – and of course it’s free to spectate!

One of my favorite activities is to stroll through one of Vermont’s beautiful villages taking in the sights, shopping and visiting local restaurants.  Woodstock, Chester and Weston are three of my favorites and I encourage you to plan a visit.  This area is rich with diverse activities and you will be sure to find something for everyone. 

Until next time, Irene

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Vermont Mountain Bike Trail Awarded Funding For Bike Trails

By Joe Milliken

    Through the partnership and hard work of the Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA) and the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC), the United States Forest Service (USFS) is allocating some $154,000 to create new and improve existing mountain bike trails, as well as increasing bike access throughout the Green Mountain National Forest.  The focus of this project is to improve sustainable mountain biking locations which are compatible with other outdoor activities in order to help diversify the states’ recreational facilities.

     The VMBA is a non-profit organization based in Waterbury, dedicated to promoting trail advocacy through education, planning, funding, establishing and maintaining multi-use trails throughout Vermont. They endorse responsible, environmentally sensible trail use and the creation of community recreation trail networks. The VYCC is also a non-profit youth, leadership, service, conservation and education organization that instills the values of personal responsibility, hard work and respect for the environment.

    The allocation comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and will be used to build a nine-mile mountain bike trail dubbed the Chandler Ridge-Leicester Hollow Loop Trail. The trail will start and end at the Silver Lake campground in Goshen, with the trail work taking place in Moosalamoo National Recreation Area, which is a congressionally designated area within the National Forest.

    The new trail will also be accessible from Branbury State Park in Brandon and the Blueberry Hill Ski Center in Goshen, while the VMBA will continue to provide project management and oversee all of the crews performing the construction of the trails. They have been partnering with the USFS for over three years on the project and are looking towards a completion date of fall, 2012.

   “We have been partnering with the USFS for three years on this project and we saw good progress in 20010, through the hard work of VYCC crews and we are delighted with this funding allocation for 2011,” VMBA Executive Director Patrick Kell said in a recent press release statement. “We expect to see the Chandler Ridge-Leicester Hollow Loop Trail completed or close to it, by the fall of 2011. A big thanks to the USFS for their vision in developing this trail.” The new trail will offer a unique destination, due to the combination of trails along the shores of Silver Lake, a ridgeline trail on Chandler Ridge, fascinating geology in Leicester Hollow and camp ground facilities at Silver Lake, with the aforementioned additional access from Branbury State Park.

    The Vermont Department of Tourism is also jumping on the bike trail theme, realizing the potential in which mountain biking promotes the Green Mountain State.”Mountain bike tourism is the perfect fit for our Vermont Brand,” Megan Smith stated in a recent press release. Smith is the Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Tourism.  “It encompasses the use of our natural landscape while promoting good health and family fun. As we expand our venues for mountain biking we will be contributing to local economies in areas that might not have already had a focus on outdoor recreation, therefore, bringing in new types of business.”

   The VMBA works very hard to not only create new mountain bike trails throughout the state, but also to improve existing trails. Some of the other current VMBA projects include the Adams Camp Ride Center in the Stowe-Waterbury area, Rocky Point Chandler Ridge Trail and the Riverside Farm Trails in Pittsfield. To learn more about the Vermont Mountain Bike Association visit www.vmba.org or the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps at www.vycc.org. Photo courtesy of the Vermont Mountain Bike Association  Joe Milliken is a freelance writer based in Bellows Falls, Vt. Contact Joe at www.jemwriting.com

Bellows Falls Football Reveals State Championship Banner

By Joe Milliken

The Bellows Falls Union High School football team recently
revealed their newest championship banner, after winning the 2010
Vermont Division III state title last fall. The Purple Gang players and
coaches also received championship jackets for their accomplishments.
The banner was unveiled before the start of a recent BF boys’
basketball game at Holland Gym in Westminster.
    During a convincing tournament run the Terriers’ first defeated
Oxbow at home, 33-8, before traveling to Castleton State College and
beating rival Windsor in the final game, 39-22. Bellows Falls went 8-3
overall on the season. The championship was the schools’ 11th state
football title  and the first for head coach Bob Lockerby, who took the
reins five seasons ago, after the retirement of long time Terrier coach
Bis Bisbee. Only Mount St. Joseph has more high school football
championships (12) in the state.
    The Terriers will certainly be looking to pull even with MSJ in the
football championship department, as the Purple Gang will return several
key players from this season’s title team, including quarterback Jeremy
Kilburn, running backs Joe Aslin, Bruce Wells, Cooper Long, Forest
Coleman and defensive back Will Bourne, among others. They also have
several up-and-coming players that got a taste of varsity football this
season, which should go a long way towards helping them create an impact
next season.
    “This is just a great night for the players and coaches,” coach
Lockerby told the crowd before the banner was unveiled. “These kids
worked extremely hard all year, and it’s a great feeling to bring
another football championship back to Bellows Falls.”

     Joe Milliken is a freelance writer based in Bellows Falls. Visit Joe at

Mill River Gets Win Over Bellows Falls Vermont By Joe Milliken

The Bellows Falls Union High School girls’ basketball team recently
hosted Mill River and looking for their second win of the year,
but Mill River had other ieas, taking an early first quarter
lead and never looking back in an easy but low-scoring, 39-17 win over
the Lady Terriers.
    However, this one was close early, as the Bellows Falls played a
solid 2-3 zone defense that helped keep the much bigger Mill River front line
out of the paint. Lady Minutemen senior guard Chelsea Bagly scored two
early baskets on drives to the hoop and junior forward Alyssa Turgeon
scored on a put-back for an early 8-point lead, before Bellows Falls
sophomore Enny Mustapha scored two baskets of her own on the inside, one
on a post-up move and the other off an offensive rebound.
    Because of good inside defense by BF, the Minutemen started swinging
the ball back outside for 3-pointers from senior captain Amanda Ley and
Bagley to extend the lead to 14-6 after a lay up from up-and-coming BF freshman
Emily Dufault halfway through the quarter.
    When Dufault had to sit down with her second foul and then
Mustapha with her second infraction, Mill River started hitting their free throws
and Bellows Falls started to lose the battle in the paint. “Emily
and Enny having to sit down with foul trouble early really hurt us
under the boards,” Bellows Falls coach Justin Aube would later say after
the game. “We started losing the rebound battle after we got in foul
trouble.”
    The Lady Minutemen continued to move the ball around well, taking jumpers
when they were there, and dumping it inside when the Terriers stretched their
defense. But after a Kya Coursen lay up with a minute left, the Lady
Terriers were alive going into the second quarter trailing 12.

     Early in the second quarter the Terriers squandered several
opportunities by turning the ball over on four straight possessions,
while the Minutemen turned three of those possessions into points on a
3-pointer from Taggart, a lay up from sophomore Trisha Burden and a
jumper from sophomore Nicole Ames. The lead had been pushed to 20-10,
causing the Bellows Falls to call a time out to stem the tide.
    After the time out, however, the sophomore Taggert would hit
three-of-four foul shots to end the half, giving Mill River a 23-10
lead. Taggert had seven points at the break for the Minutemen, while
Dufault had six for Bellows Falls, despite limited minutes.
    At the start of the third quarter, Turgeon and Bagley scored on
consecutive possessions and after another Bellows Falls turnover,
Ames hit a baseline jumper and the lead was up to 14 points halfway through the
quarter. Then things got a little rough when Terrier junior Emma Shaw was
was hit with a technical foul for a push after the whistle. One
free-throw was made and after a BF junior Sarah Dumont hit a 3-pointer
with time winding down, the score was 31-14 heading into the final
quarter.
    The Lady Minutemen would continue to move the ball around the parameter,
effectively taking time off the clock while also creating good shots,
taking a 39-15 lead halfway through the quarter after another Ames’
3-pointer with a defender right in her face.
    Bellows Falls would keep working hard, getting four points down
the stretch from Coursen on a short jumper and two free throws, but it
would not be nearly enough as the Lady Minutemen came away with a 39-19
win.
    “I think we did a pretty good job defensively, only giving up 39
points to a very good team, Bellows Falls coach Aube said after the game.
“Losing Emily (Dufault) early really took her out of her game for a
while, and then losing Enny (Mustapha) for a while at the end of the
first quarter was also tough to overcome.
    Nicole Ames led the way for Mill River with 10 points, while
Chelsea Bagley and Maureen Taggart each pitched in with six. Enny
Mustapha led the way for Bellows Falls with six points.
     Joe Milliken is a freelance writer based in Bellows Falls, Vt. Visit Joe at

I am pleased to announce that my friend

I am pleased to announce that my friend Joe Milliken will be contributing to my blog weekly about local sports and happenings in Vermont…A bit about Joe; Joe Milliken is a freelance writer, music journalist and local sports writer, living in Bellows Falls, Vt with his wife Kelly, son Nate and daughter Erin. Visit Joe at http://www.jemwriting.com and http://www.jemsportsimages.com

Pricing your house to sell – The Basic Six!

Why does one house sell quickly for a stellar price while another has a “For Sale” sign in the yard for months? Is it luck? Probably not. The sales price and length of marketing time are determined by six basic factors. And you, as the seller, control four of them.

Location – Your neighborhood and your home’s location within the subdivision are important. Does your lot border a golf course or a busy street?

Condition of Property – Is your home updated and well-maintained or does it need redecorating and repair? Is it “staged” to show at its best?

Terms – Can you carry a second mortgage? Is your loan assumable? Can you be flexible with closing and occupancy dates?

Market Conditions – How does the number of available homes (new and resale) compare with the number of buyers? Interest rates always affect the number of qualified, motivated buyers.

Price – Is your property priced correctly? A new listing receives the most activity during the first 3-4 weeks, so be sure to price your home correctly right from the beginning. Price is a very important factor that can offset other deficiencies.

Your real estate professional – The agent you select will make a difference. As an experienced, knowledgeable real estate professional, I will price your home correctly, market it extensively, and negotiate effectively on your behalf. If you’re thinking of selling, please call me.

Holiday Lighting Safety Checklist

By: Pat Curry

Published: November 18, 2009

Before you plug in and light up for the holidays, run your decorations through this quick safety check.

Inspect light strings. Discard any that are damaged. Frayed or cracked electrical cords or broken sockets are leading fire hazards. 

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for connecting multiple strings. The general limit is three strings.  Light strings with stacked plugs can usually accommodate greater lengths than end-to-end connections.

Replace burned-out bulbs promptly. Empty sockets can cause the entire string to overheat. 

Make sure outdoor lighting is UL-rated for exterior use. Exterior lights, unlike those used inside the house, need to be weather-resistant. The same goes for any extension cords used outdoors.

Don’t use outdoor lights indoors. They’re too hot for interior use. For the coolest bulbs and greatest energy efficiency, try LED lights, which come in a wide range of styles and colors.

Don’t attach light strings with nails or staples. They can cut through the wire insulation and create a fire hazard. Only use UL-approved hangers.

Take exterior lights down within 90 days. The longer they stay up, the more likely they are to suffer damage from weather and critters chewing on them. 

Store lights safely. Tangled lights can lead to damaged cords and broken sockets. After the holidays, coil each string loosely around a stiff piece of cardboard, wrap it in paper or fabric to protect the bulbs, and store in a sturdy container until next year.  

Pat Curry is a former senior editor at BUILDER, the official magazine of the National Association of Home Builders, and a frequent contributor to real estate and home-building publications.

Celebrating a South Central Vermont Thanksgiving

Ode to Thanksgiving

To our national birds
The American Eagle
The Thanksgiving Turkey
May one give us peace in all our states
And the other a piece for all our plates

What did the Pilgrims eat on Thanksgiving?

It is commonly believed that the first actual celebration of the harvest and blessings from God took place in Plymouth in 1621. The festivities lasted three days and included feasting, entertainment, and competitions. For more about the holiday’s history!

Who Doesn’t Love a Parade?

The first annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade took place in 1924. That first year, it was known as the Macy’s Christmas Parade. It was created to launch the holiday shopping season. Today, the parade is attended by an estimated three million people each year. Approximately 44 million people around the country watch the parade on television.

Other large parades which commemorate the holiday are the IKEA Thanksgiving Parade in Philly, McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade in Chicago, and the UBS Parade Spectacular in Stamford.

Find holiday-themed wallpaper or screensavers here!

Want some holiday music to enhance your gathering? Get free, fast downloads of 30+ songs.

If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness.”  …. Gerald Good

Thanksgiving Around the World

Thanksgiving is essentially a harvest related festival. It celebrates communal harmony.

Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday in the month of October.

India also has a number of harvest related festivals in different regions.

Other Thanksgiving traditions around the world.

Money-saving tips for Thanksgiving–something we would all be thankful for!

1.      Have a BYOD (bring your own dish) celebration. Asking your guests to contribute to the meal is a great way to save on expenses–and on your own cooking time.

2.      Keep it simple. Cut down on the number of side dishes you have. A festive table doesn’t have to be extravagant.

3.      Serve boxed wine or large bottles of soda. Cans and individual bottles are far more expensive.

4.      Use natural items for decorations–leaves, fruit, squash, gourds, pumpkins, and dried flowers from your garden. A large candle and colorful fruit make a lovely centerpiece. Visit a dollar store for inexpensive holiday items.

5.      Check store ads for sales and coupons before you shop for Thanksgiving Day goodies.

6.      If time and your schedule allow, bake it yourself. Baking all your pies at one time will also save energy costs.
Continue reading →

Wow! Reduced, what a price for a slopeside condo.

Slopeside Condo on Mount Ascutney.  Only 6 miles from 91.  Just think 1 week a month for 52 weeks.  Unit includes a lockout that you can rent during your week.  Ascutney offers: •30 km of beautiful Vermont trails
•8 cross-country ski loops
•Rentals available
•Group & Private lessons offered. 
No reason to rent for the season when you can have all this!

Offered for this low price:  $89,900

Buying South Central Vermont Real Estate In a Buyers Market

In real estate terms this is, indeed, a buyer’s market–a time when the supply of South Central Vermont real estate for sale far exceeds the demand. And that is good news for those of you who are house hunting, for you may well find just the deal you’ve been looking for. You can certainly make an offer that is below the asking price and ask the seller to add upgrades, pay closing costs, or otherwise provide incentives for you to purchase that particular piece of South Central Vermont real estate. Even if you may be holding most of the cards, however, here are some tips to make your search easier and more successful.

THE PREPARATION:

  • Get pre-approved for a loan
  • Be knowledgeable about prices. Spend some time with a Realtor looking at comparables and recent sales in your target area so you’ll recognize a fair price.
  • Check out property taxes in the area. High taxes can sometimes add hundreds of dollars to your monthly payment, something you need to know in advance.

THE IN-PERSON SEARCH:

  • Ride with your Realtor. It’s better for you to concentrate on curb appeal and surroundings than on traffic.
  • Dress comfortably and practically. Be prepared to remove your shoes, trek up and down stairs, tour the outside grounds, inspect corners, etc.